In California´s West Coast, the Art of de-stressing is something natural. Under the towering redwood canopy, it looks like that every breath allows us to start recovering the serenity, perspective and even lost hopes. The sight of this is astonishing for the traveler lacking green environments; since their ability to surprise is numb and they need to remind themselves the act of taking a deep breath.
Then we can start adventuring on these landscapes to nurture his body with the ancestral remedy to the modern ills. All of this is possible thanks to the “forest therapy”
Before continuing into the redwood…
In case you haven´t read my profile, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Regina Berry I´m a small-town girl from Perthshire, Scotland but I have fallen in love with the beautiful redwoods (sequoia Tree) that grows in the West Coast of America.
In this little entry, I want to talk about forest therapy. I know it looks like some invention from some Californian Hippies. But the truth is an official term coined by the Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Office. The Shirin-yoku (forest therapy) is the act of stroll in the forest breathing essential oils to restore the senses and that may strengthen the immune system. All of this is backed with scientific data. This practice draws inspiration from Shintoism, is promoted in major cities from Tokyo to London.
But how do I start with forest therapy?
To live this experience in the fullest you have to go into the heart of the redwood forest. I was supposed to go to Humboldt County, driving for 4 hours to the north. There, you will find a panoramic stretch at 50 km. from the old US 101´s route. This beautiful place flanked by sequoias is known as the Avenue of the Giants. Along the route, there hand-painted posters to advertise to the travelers of curious point of interest in the highway: Hermit´s cabin in the thunder-struck tress, sequoias so big that you can travel through them in a car and grizzly bears carved with chainsaws in fallen sequoias’ stems. But the best destiny we´re looking for doesn´t have any signs and is, even more, harder to find in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park: I´m talking about the Women´s Grove.
The women from Humboldt managed to secure the support of the women´s organizations from California when this trench full of old-as-the-time-itself sequoias was threatened by the wood industry in 1923. More than 70.000 Californians women contribute with a single American dollar each to buy this forest, incorporate it to the Park and save these majestic redwoods for the posterity.
When you enter the spotted-by-shadows´ route in Women´s Grove you can feel the velvet moisture of the underwood together with steely conviction of the women who protected this place a century ago. This is one of my favorite places from the redwoods and one of the best to do your forest therapy. In the next entries, I will be talking more about all the things this beautiful place has to offer and how we can protect the redwood together, just like the Californian Women. Just remember: “The forest offers happiness, peace and the sweet company of nature.”